BBL Fantasy Preview: Melbourne Stars

The Green Machine boast a formidable line-up, with Maxwell and Pietersen set to fire

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BBL Fantasy preview: Adelaide Strikers

Squad: David Hussey (captain), Michael Beer, Scott Boland, Jackson Coleman, James Faulkner, Sebastian Gotch, Evan Gulbis, Peter Handscomb, Sam Harper, John Hastings, Ben Hilfenhaus, Glenn Maxwell, Kevin Pietersen (OS), Rob Quiney, Marcus Stoinis, Tom Triffitt, Daniel Worrall, Luke Wright (OS), Adam Zampa

Ins: Jackson Coleman

Master Blaster: Glenn Maxwell ($99,200)

Magic Maxi blasts away doubters with epic ton

There’s nothing to more to say about this man that you haven’t already heard, but just a reminder: Maxwell is one the most destructive T20 players on planet. His extraordinary 65-ball 145 followed up by the equal-fastest T20 half-century by an Australian in two consecutive T20 Internationals against Sri Lanka earlier this year are recent proof. The Victorian averaged 37.75 from his five hits in the BBL last summer, with a strike-rate in excess of 140. He will be around for the beginning of the Stars’ campaign though his availability could be affected later on in the tournament due to national duties. As a more-than-useful off-spinner and one of the country’s most dynamic fielders, Maxwell is fantasy must-have.

Strike Weapon: Adam Zampa ($70,200)

Zampa corrals Bulls with a bag of wickets

He’s another of the Stars’ contingent who’s likely to miss some games due to ODI selection, but until then, the 24-year-olld holds good fantasy value. A skiddy leg-spinner with a happy knack of hitting the stumps, Zampa prospered playing home games at the MCG with its big square boundaries after crossing from the Strikers last summer. He led the Stars’ wicket taking charts in BBL|05 and has since become an integral part of Austalia’s 50-over side this year (despite missing the second two games of the recent Chappell-Hadlee series). The NSW southern coast product’s 30 ODI scalps in 2016 is the most from any bowler this year. Expect Zampa to carry his good form into BBL|06.

Overseas Impact: Kevin Pietersen ($77,200)

Pietersen powers Stars to victory

KP’s back! One of the most sought-after international T20 guns for hire returns to the Stars, after a superb maiden season in green. Pietersen was his side’s player-of-the-season in BBL|05 after passing 50 four times and, like Maxwell, dazzled with his array of strokes and inventiveness. After a stint in commentary with Nine’s coverage of Australia’s Test series against the Proteas, the former England batsman has prepared for the BBL with a couple of whirlwind knocks in South Africa’s domestic T20 competition. As one of the most experienced T20 cricketers going around, Pietersen is a steal at under $80,000.

Surprise Packet: Evan Gulbis ($57,400)

Gulbis hammers half-century against Proteas

A destructive allrounder, Gulbis looks set for a breakout BBL campaign. He was back in Bushrangers’ colours in October’s Matador BBQs One-Day Cup and impressed with a couple of lower-order cameos. The right-hander has looked the goods with the bat this summer, belting a 28-ball 53 in a tour match against South Africa before crunching 97 off just 29 balls in a club T20 match for Prahran. Combine his clout with the willow with his nippy bowling and Gulbis could be a solid value pick for your fantasy side.

Young Gun: Seb Gotch ($20,000)

Seb Gotch Innings Highlights

This former Australian U19 rep opened up for the Stars in the first of their Border Bash warm-up fixtures against the Thunder earlier this week and top-scored with 36 off 30 balls. Possessing power that belies his small stature, Gotch is well-suited to the shortest format and gave a glimpse of his talent with a half-century against the touring Proteas last month. Cheap as chips, Gotch is well worth a spot on your bench and could slot in to the top of the Stars order at some stage, especially with their side again likely to lose a host of players to national duties.

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